Could cameras protect against nursing home abuse?

For Pennsylvania families who are faced with the difficult task of choosing a residential care facility for a loved one, the issue of abuse is a serious matter. Nursing home abuse happens in facilities across the nation, and families feel limited in their ability to effectively screen out institutions in which high levels of abuse have taken place. One reaction to this issue is a public call for placing more cameras within nursing homes, with the hopes that having these recording devices in place may lower rates of abuse by staff.

Elder abuse can take a number of forms, each of which is distressing to loved ones who are trying to secure a high level of care for a family member. In some cases, residents are simply not being properly looked after; their rooms may not be cleaned as well as they should and their laundry not taken care of. In other instances, neglect is an issue, and the proper level of care is simply not being given. In the most extreme cases, instances of serious physical abuse and sexual assault are taking place.

Those who promote the use of cameras within nursing home settings believe that workers will provided far better care when they know that their actions may be observed. It is also believed that acts of abuse can be thwarted, and that when a serious incident does occur, holding the responsible party accountable will be made easier by having the act on film. However, those who oppose the increased use of cameras point to the privacy rights of both workers and residents, and claim that the excessive use of recording equipment is a violation of those rights.

For families who are concerned about the safety of loved ones who reside in a Pennsylvania residential care facility, having the ability to monitor the level of care that is being given is often a top priority. A discussion with the facility's management staff can help clear up concerns about whether cameras are being used within the facility, and if families can opt to install recording devices in their loved one's room. In an effort to protect against nursing home abuse, many feel that the scales are tipped away from privacy rights and toward protective measures.

Source: NBC San Diego, "Protecting the Elderly with Nursing Home Cameras", Mari Payton, Feb. 3, 2015

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